• Cesare Vecellio’s Middle East: Venetian Cosmopolitanism & the Marketing of Textiles

APR 25, 2013 | 6:30 PM TO 8:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




April 25, 2013: 6:30 PM-8:00 PM





MEMEAC - co-sponsored with the Certificate Programs in Renaissance Studies and Fashion Studies.


As an inhabitant of sixteenth-century Venice, the artist Cesare Vecellio shared his city's admiration for the goods of the Middle East, especially its fabrics. In his book of woodcuts depicting world dress, Habiti antichi et moderni di tutto il mondo (1598), he illustrated the clothing of merchants and citizens of the region, emphasizing the Ottoman Empire, whose court structure and social customs he praises enthusiastically. This talk considers his sources, his revisions of them, and the reasons for his positive representation of cultures whose religion he accepts with very little of his European compatriots' anxiety about Islam's challenge to Christianity. Did textile techniques and economies lead to exchanges with Europeans in paths that bypassed Christian/Muslim oppositions? That is, was theology sidelined when mutually profitable trade linked Europeans and their Eastern contemporaries?

Ann R. Jones is Esther Cloudman Dunn Professor of Comparative Literature at Smith College. Her recent publications are The Clothing of the Renaissance World (Europe, Asia, Africa, America): Cesare Vecellio’s 'Habiti  Antichi et Moderni,' with Margaret F. Rosenthal; and Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory, with Peter Stallybrass, Winner of the 2001 Modern Language Association’s James Russell Lowell Prize “for an outstanding book by a member of the MLA.”